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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  October 30, 2010 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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that's it for "360." thanks for watching. larry king starts now. larry king starts now. see you monday. -- captions by vitac -- >> larry: tonight, the united states of america targeted by terrorists. >> a credible terrorist threat against our country. >> larry: at least two explosive devices bound for america have been intercepted. where were they going? what's behind it? is it al qaeda who has done the latest? we have the latest next on "larry king live."
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good evening. we welcome our international viewers to continuing coverage of this breaking news story. suspicious packages found in at least two locations bound for the united states contained explosive materials. u.s. officials believe al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is behind the incident. both packages originated in yemen. ultimate destination two synagogues in chicago. the heads-up came from saudi arabia, which gave the united states the tracking numbers of the packages. here's what president obama had to say about all this. >> last night and earlier today our intelligence and law enforcement professionals working with our friends and allies identified two suspicious packages bound for the united states, specifically two places of jewish worship in chicago.
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those packages have been located in dubai and east midlands airport in the united kingdom. an initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material. >> larry: ed henry is our senior white house correspondent. anything new from the white house, ed? >> reporter: the newest bit of information is that senior officials here say that they are still on the hunt right now for what could be 13 more suspicious packages. the bottom line is the intelligence reports they've been sifting through all day suggest that there were maybe 15 of these explosive devices. they've gotten two of them as you noted. there could be 13 more still on the loose. they worked through the night here at the white house last night into today. the president's principle homeland security adviser john brennan briefed the president
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10:35 eastern time. the good news is the two explosive devices did not detonate but the concern here is that there could be more out there and that's why the president came out and wanted to directly address the american people and make sure everyone is vigilant. >> larry: these 13 more are on the u.p.s. and fedex planes? >> reporter: they're not sure where they are. that is one of the scary parts that they are trying to sift through. just a few days before the midterm elections, this year has been dominated on domestic issues, economy, health care, jobs and all of a sudden a chilling remind for this white house and for this country terror can hijack the agenda. they don't know where the packages are and the other significant piece is having potentially a connection to yemen where the packages started but potentially a connection to al qaeda in the arabian peninsula.
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that's the same terror group that was behind the underwear bomber and had ties to him back on christmas day when they tried to bring down that jetliner over detroit. this is a big, big story. >> larry: the yemen government is very cooperative with us, isn't it? >> reporter: they are expressing their help in trying to shut down the packages from coming in for now and putting in new safeguards, et cetera. the question is whether or not the government there can control the extremists on the ground as we see the same issue playing out in places like pakistan as well. there has cooperation with the yemeni government but the question is whether they can crackdown on extremists there that have safe haven essentially. >> larry: is this so far a success story for the united states and its allies? >> reporter: based on what the president was saying and based on my private conversations with senior officials, they think in the early stages this has been a success because obviously no one has been hurt.
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they were able to make sure they found the first two devices. they're not going to celebrate until they make sure there are not 13 more or if there are, they get those 13 more devices. the president was quick to stress this is early in the investigation and make sure this is not a wider plot. we've seen this sort of thing play out before. let's not forget the president has a busy schedule this weekend. i'll get up early tomorrow to go with him to three different states. two of the cities will be chicago and philadelphia, they were cities under a higher state of alert today because of this but the white house is saying he's not planning to change any of those travel plans right now, larry. >> larry: ed henry, our senior white house correspondent at the white house. let's go to london. nic robertson, cnn senior international correspondent. nic, what's the latest from across the sea? >> well, we're hearing from the british home secretary saying that high level security meetings have been held here in britain and she's talked with her u.s. counterpart, homeland security chief janet napolitano and the suspect package is undergoing examination even now at a metropolitan police
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scientific laboratory outside london. this is being handled here in britain by the counterterrorism police, part of the metropolitan police here in london. they handle all of the big counterterrorism issues in britain and the message that we're getting from british authorities is how much they're cooperating with the united states even according to one british intelligence source telling us they know the identity of the person who sent these packages because they can say for certain that he has known connections with terrorism. larry? >> larry: is it true that the two intercepted packages contain petn, is that what they're supposed to have? >> that's what we understand, larry. just to give you an idea of how damaging petn can be, a small amount, about 6 grams, enough to fit in the end of my pen here can blow a hole in a piece of metal twice the thickness of an aircraft fuselage.
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we don't know what was the intended target here, but just a tiny, be tiny amount and we're seeing the size of these devices here, can do a huge amount of damage. the underpants bomber we were talking about a few minutes ago who tried to bring down that plane over detroit, he had about 80 grams of this explosive. it's very hard to detect. it's easy to transport because it won't just suddenly go off. it's highly destructive when you detonate it properly, larry. >> larry: nic, unless the sender was a name known to the synagogue, wouldn't they have immediately been suspicious? >> that's one of the strangest things about this. a package being sent from yemen with everything we know about yemen to a synagogue in the united states, you have to believe that's going to raise red flags. there are many assessments that must be going on at this time. ed talked about 13 other packages.
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we don't know where those may have been sent to. these may be the easy ones to find. the red herrings that were supposed to be found. that's speculation. where were the other packages going? it's going to be difficult as we know from the volume of goods shipped around the world by these services to track them down. >> larry: what do we know about al qaeda's presence in yemen? >> it's getting stronger. and clearly one of the things we can learn here is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula has grown stronger because it's had al qaeda members coming from saudi arabia because saudi arabia cracked down on al qaeda. the government in yemen is relatively week. there are tribes there against the government that al qaeda has been able to find space to develop not only the underpants bombs used at christmas but a new type of device that's being shipped around the world by these freight carriers. there's clearly al qaeda there feels that it has the space to
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develop these particular weapons and experiment with them in the way that we're seeing right now, larry. >> larry: nic robertson, our cnn senior international correspondent. when we come back, we'll talk to the first person ever to head the department of homeland security, former governor of pennsylvania tom ridge next. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp...
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>> larry: it's a pleasure to welcome tom ridge to "larry king live." we've shared many moments over the past decade. the former secretary of homeland security. he indeed was the first person to hold that post. tom, what's your read on all of this? >> well, larry, when i first read early this afternoon that they had a conversation with the president, i concluded that this intelligence was real. i remember talking from time to time with president bush about threats that his homeland security council thought were real. you don't normally get up the president at 10:35 at night to talk about a threat. here's what i make of this. it's a reminder, larry, that the forces of globalization finance, travel, communication give these
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terrorists an edge in a world that's still fairly open no matter what we try to do. it's a reminder, larry, that the military and the law enforcement intelligence communities have been looking at that part of the world in yemen for a long time even before let's not forget the "uss cole" bombing. this radical cleric and al qaeda in yemen have existed for quite some time and have decided to become much more active around the world and obviously america still is the primary target and aviation in one form or another which is a persistent theme in many threats continues to be involved. >> larry: from your vantage point is everything being done that should be done? >> well, in this instance it appears so. you know, when we think about what didn't happen in new york when the bomb didn't go off and what didn't happen on christmas day in detroit, in that instance i think we were lucky. in this instance it seems like
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information sharing and action upon that information worked very effectively. as some of your reporters commented earlier, if they truly believe and if the intelligence says there are another 13 packages out there, then you wonder how complete the intelligence was because at this juncture they were available to intervene and secure a couple of them but apparently there's at least a dozen or more out there. again, the intelligence may vary in terms of authenticity. the number may not be correct. it's good news. at the end of the day what's the source? who's the individual? right now i'm sure there's frenzied activity in many jurisdictions in many countries within the intelligence and law enforcement community. so far this is a sign that when we get intelligence and at the end of the day that's the toughest part of combatting these terrorists. we can act. it remains to be seen whether the intelligence is completely correct and whether or not we'll have sufficient time to act upon it. >> larry: the president stepped forward here a briefer in chief
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on the incident. how unusual is that? was that a good idea? >> i think at this juncture those are decisions they have to make in the white house. i for one was surprised that the secretary of homeland security didn't do the briefing. given the immediacy of the action that was being taken by the fbi presumably by customs and border protection though i don't see their name being involved, that's just a technical decision they make inside the white house. at this juncture on the eve of the election, the president for whatever reason thought it was important to make the statement and to reassure america that in fact all of the resources necessary to track this down as effectively and quickly as possible were committed to that cause. >> larry: if a synagogue gets a package from yemen, are they going to open it? >> again you are talking to previous correspondence. when i talked to situational
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awareness and secretary napolitano has talked about it, unfortunately in a post- 9/11 world what we know publicly about what's going on in yemen and we know the cause and hatred that islamist extremists have toward the country of israel and jewish population generally, i would have liked to have thought that had this somehow been delivered that the police would have been called in immediately because it would appear to be suspicious. we tell people to be aware of your surroundings. don't be reckless about this. it's a global challenge that we'll deal with a long time. be part about what you're doing and how you interact with these kind of surprising moments, surprising packages. >> larry: on the other hand might it have been a show-me thing expecting this to happen and showing you that we're still around, baby. >> well, there's still a lot of speculation. right now you and i
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unfortunately are dealing probably with more speculation than we are with facts. i guess one of the pieces of information that will be explored if there were truly 13 other devices, i'm surprised that if we knew the airplanes that these were on, do we know how the others were being transported? again, i don't know the technical nature of the devices involved. if they were prepared for some kind of immediate explosive trigger or not. it's quite clear particularly after the concern that the europeans have expressed and it's quite clear that with the presence and ongoing and frankly the al qaeda presence in yemen becoming a much more muscular force, this is again a difficult reminder that no matter how hard we work, no matter how intelligence communities are linked up and no matter what we
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do, as i said before in the past we've been lucky. this instance so far seems we've been good and may we hope you and i in all circumstances in the future we are both lucky and good. >> larry: more speculation with the first man ever to be secretary of homeland security tom ridge. don't go away.
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>> larry: we're back with governor tom ridge. speculation is often the name of the game at this early stage. do you think, tom, that anything had to do with election eve? >> you know, at this point i would say, larry, i certainly doubt it. there are probably all kinds of theories out there that might connect it to it. generally most of those who watch terrorist organizations and their activity, they really literally pull the trigger and it may not be the best expression but when they are ready to go, they go, regardless of the time. i suspect that that's the case here. when they were prepared to deliver the devices and get them on the planes, remains to be seen whether it was trying to affect the outcome of an election. time will tell. i doubt it.
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>> larry: you were the first secretary of homeland security. if the current secretary were talking to you, how transparent should we be? how much should the public know and when should they know it? >> well, i think the way they handled the public comment and explaining as best i can tell to the american people the full range of information that they have at their disposal. we talked a little bit -- i heard in your report about the sources from saudi arabia. we talked that there may be as many as 13 other packages around. they now know how it was transported and what it was transported and where it was to be delivered. one of the challenges we have, larry, and we have talked about this before is that the greatest fear is generally the fear of the unknown. i think the american public wants to know as difficult and as troubling as that information
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might be, transparency i think is critically important so that the government itself continues to have the credibility so that when it asks states and local governments or it asks citizens to do something, there is a basis in fact that there is credibility associated with it so that the public and local and state governments will do what is asked of them. i think it's very important to be transparent. >> larry: the reality of the situation, tom, is as dangerous as this is, as continuously dangerous as it is, there will never be a victory day in the war on terrorism. a terrorist was born somewhere today, wasn't he or she? >> larry, you are so right. i mean, as much as i think and you think it's important, i believe you do, that we share information and we're honest with the american public, let's face it. terrorism is a tactic. terrorism is something that has been used not just since 9/11. terrorism is just a means by
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which a small few people who have taken an extremist interpretation of a holy document in another region to justify their cause. frankly, i think given the forces of globalization, america is not only assessable but the world is assessable through cargo planes that travel all over the place with packages that have origin in one country and delivery destination in another. so the world has to deal with this. perhaps, just perhaps, those who doubt that this is a global scourge and the world must be collective in this will come together in an aggressive and formal way to deal with this ongoing threat not just to america but global commerce and civilized world generally. >> larry: so all the good guys can do really is persevere, right? >> absolutely. it's a new norm. it's a reality that we're dealing with in a post- 9/11 world.
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let's also take some strength from the history of america when during the cold war when we literally had nuclear missiles facing us and we certainly were threaten the soviet union, that threat was real. it was a new norm. we lived under a nuclear umbrella. we have a different norm here. we just have to learn to live with it and continue to enjoy the blessings and bounty of the country and support officials dealing with the threat, be aware of the situation around us and do not let the terrorists take away from us what we've fought so hard for 200 years to achieve and that's the freedom and opportunity that is so abundant throughout america. we can't change how we live because we're fearful. we live in freedom, larry, not in fear. >> larry: well said. thanks, tom, as always.
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>> good to be with you. thank you very much. >> larry: former secretary of homeland security, former governor of pennsylvania. an outstanding panel of experts will join us right after this. ♪ every day you check the weather, check the time ♪ ♪ check the news online ♪heck the wife, eck the kids ♪ ♪ check your email messages ♪ check the money in the bank ♪ check the gas in the tank ♪ check the flava from your shirt ♪ ♪ make sure your pits don't stank ♪ ♪ check the new hairdo, check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ free-credit-score ♪ you won't regret it at all! ♪ check the legal y'all. >>offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.®
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>> larry: we're back. fran townsend is cnn national security contributor. she served as homeland security adviser to president george w. bush. larry johnson, former analyst with the cia. served in the u.s. state
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department office of counterterrorism. peter bergen, cnn national analyst is at the center of law and security at nyu school of law and author of the "osama bin laden i know." and mohammad jamjoom, cnn international correspondent based in baghdad. let's check in first with rima maktabi in dubai. what's the latest from there, rima? >> larry, officials confirm here earlier that there was no shipment coming from yemen towards the u.s. through dubai on emirates airlines flight ak-201 which was escorted by the u.s. fighters in the u.s. a suspicious shipment or package originating from yemen was discovered in dubai earlier
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tonight and it was found at a fedex cargo aircraft. the aviation officials said that this suspicious package has been sent to the lab to discover what's in this package. however, this happened many hours ago but so far there's not one statement that says what they found in this package. as we know, it's friday. the beginning of the weekend. now it's the morning, saturday. it's 5:00 a.m. in the morning nearly 5:30 and there were no officials that gave statements. usually in such circumstances officials don't give statements to any media outlet. they would stick to the official news agency and this is how we're able to know about all of
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this. on the other hand emirates airlines says we spoke to an official who wanted to remain unanimous. he said that's all cargo bound to the u.s. on emirates flights and it's rescreened in dubai in accordance with u.s. procedures. larry? >> larry: all right. thank you. excellent report on top of the scene in dubai. let's go to our panel. remain with us the rest of the way. fran, what's your read on all this? >> look, i think what tom ridge is saying is right. this is a good news story in terms of getting information from our saudi allies and acting on it quickly. what we haven't mentioned and i think it's worth pointing to is for billions of dollars we've spent in security measures post- 9/11, our screening procedures we still had to rely on foreign allies. why isn't we weren't able to see the vulnerability and prevent this from getting into the cargo system where it could have posed
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a threat to the united states? i suspect that will be a subject of congressional hearings and oversight after this is over. >> larry: larry, fran said we. the we is she talking about u.p.s. or fedex or what? >> u.s. government. 22 years ago in december of 1988 pan am 103 was blown up with a bomb in checked luggage. we knew there was that vulnerability. now long did it take to get to a report where we required checked luggage to be interrogated to see if it had a bomb on board. it was after 9/11. it went 14 years. cargo has been a vulnerability for more than 22 years. we were able to put a man on the moon in 1961 after jfk announced it and got it done in eight years. here we are 22 years later and we still do not have a -- 96% of the cargo that comes from overseas is not screened.
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it's not checked. it was only in august of this last year that the congressional office identified that we finally have 100% screening on domestic cargo and even then when you penetrate that it's not using 100% of the most effective technology. so really this has been -- this is not an indictment of any one party or the other. both democrats and republicans have failed at this. we've got 22 years of it. we'll wait until we get someone killed before we decide to do something. >> larry: peter, are we supposed to have american officials posted at every place cargo is shipped that's coming here. is that the purpose here? >> i think that would be pretty prohibitively expensive. when we look at cargo that's shipped in ships, the small amounts of it are checked but typically if something is coming from yemen or pakistan or a country of concern it is checked. you can have virtually 100% check even if you only look at
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relatively small number of countries because typically people aren't trying to put bombs into cargo let's say in germany. it's places like yemen or pakistan are countries you really need to focus on. larry is right to raise the issue that not enough is being done but i think one way to do it with constraints that we have in terms of money and resources is to say, well, here are the country where we will examine very carefully. the other point that's important is these bombs -- also one attempted to bring down northwest flight 253 and nearly killed the saudi deputy interior minister, that bombmaker is still out there. it's not just the 13 packages floating around. it's also the fact that this guy is obviously quite skilled and will continue to do this until he's either captured or killed. >> larry: we'll ask mohammad what they are saying about this
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in iraq when we come back.
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>> larry: our cnn international correspondent member of the panel, mohammad jamjoom, you are in iraq but we understand that you were recently in yemen.
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what can you tell us about all of this? >> larry, i've been to yemen twice this year. i can tell you the shift in tone in what officials are saying there about al qaeda in the arabian peninsula between january when i was there and between september and october when i was there is startling. officials are expressing grave concern. before they said it's a problem but we're getting it under control. several officials have spoken to us and have said we need help. we need help to get this under control. if we don't, yemen could become a failed state. if yemen becomes a failed state, that helps nobody. it doesn't help yemen or saudi arabia and other regional neighbors and doesn't help the international community. what we've seen since 2009 when yemen and al qaeda on the arabian peninsula became bolder, they are announcing now to the rest of the world they are changing tactics and have learned from al qaeda in iraq and other places in the middle
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east that it's a new insurgency. they go after the government there. they are also continuing to go after foreign targets there as we've seen this past month. now, in the last month we've seen at least three different terror raids and counterterror measures and sweeps that are going on in different provinces of yemen. the fact of the matter is yemen in al qaeda is growing stronger and the government is concerned. >> larry: fran, there's never going to be a winning day on the war on terrorism and good guys are always on the defense, aren't they? >> that's exactly right. what you have to do is keep up a persistent effort against these guys and try to gain a better understanding. it's always evolving about what are they going to try to use as root against us. it's hard. you heard it said before. they only have to get right ones
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and government officials have to be right every day. it's a daunting challenge. you are exactly right, larry. there will never be a winning day because this doesn't go away. >> larry: larry, it seems kind of -- i don't want to use the word -- i'll use it. hopeless. is it hopeless? >> i sort of disagree with fran to this extent. both the bush administration and the obama administration have been effective in capturing and killing a number of terrorists. and you don't -- in fact, i offer this as further evidence that their capability has deteriorated. they have the desire in al qaeda in arabian peninsula to attack us. we look at what happened with the underwear pants bomber. the device he wore number one it was not sufficient to bring down the plane. it showed me they didn't know what they were doing because if they knew what they were doing, he would have had a different amount of explosive on him number one. then we see the guy in new york
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city that tried to blow up his truck. he didn't even understand that what he had and how he assembled it wouldn't be even work. so what i'm seeing is not the kind of sophistication we saw with the first bomber of the world trade center. we're seeing sort of a second and third tier effort. what that means is we need to continue this effort to capture and kill these guys. as you chase them and deteriorate their ability, they'll try to hurt us but they don't have the capability to project force, sustain operations that we saw ten years ago. i think we do need to take credit that both the bush administration and obama administration are being effective in this and we don't take our boot off the throat of these guys. >> larry: that's encouraging. we'll be right back with more.
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>> we will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. i have also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting. although we are still pursuing all of the facts, we do know that the packages originated in yemen. we also know that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, a terrorist group based in yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.
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>> larry: peter bergen, what do you make of target synagogues in chicago? >> well, if we take it as a matter of fact that an american citizen is playing key operational role in this group, he would be not unaware of the fact that the president hales from chicago and would not be -- we have seen them successful in attacking synagogues. they have tried to bring down an israeli charter jet. i mention that attempt to bring down the israeli passenger jet relates to what larry was talking about earlier. one thing no country has done except israel is retrofit its commercial jets with measures
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against surface to air missiles. bringing down a commercial jet with surface to air missile is not a chicken little scenario. it's something that al qaeda has tried. it's something that they have access to these weapons. obviously if they manage to succeed in doing that anywhere in the world, that would be really transformational and then just as we reinforced cockpit doors after 9/11, every passenger jet in the world would have to be fitted up with these measures would be very expensive but something that only happens after the event and not before unfortunately human nature being what it is. >> larry: mohammad, officials believe that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is behind this. why? >> they are doing more and more bold attacks. let me set the scene about yemen. it's the poorest country in the
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middle east. they have several different conflicts going on right now. you don't just have a growing al qaeda problem, you have a separatist movement going on in the south and deep poverty. this country may run out of water in the next five to ten years. all of the conditions are there for it to be a magnet for militants. they can come there and operate really at will. they have done so. and yemen's government is a very weak central government. they don't really operate that much outside of the capital. the president there has been the president for over 30 years. he's done that because he's been able to maneuver tribal affiliations and been able to get loyalty of the tribes. the yemeni government depends on that when they are outside of the capital city but because they are so beholden to the tribes to remain in power, they also have to be very careful in how they go after al qaeda and how they carry out attacks in these mountainous, rugged regions outside of the capital because if they anger those
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tribes and all those people in those different townships, then they have an even bigger problem on their hands. larry? >> larry: we'll have more after this.
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>> larry: fran townsend, larry johnson thinks these terrorists are getting worse. we continue the breaking news getting new information about those two packages that were known to contain explosives. we know that they've been found. there are still more out there apparently. more being tracked. 13 that we know of right now being looked for. >> larry, there is something to be said for this. the attacks that they are attempting are much smaller. i don't take the sort of comfort that larry johnson suggested. first of all, the underwear bomber, petn if properly detonated could have caused a huge problem on that plane and may in fact -- it is not clear to me that it wouldn't have blown a hole in the fuselage particularly given where he was sitting. larry, i disagree with you. let me finish. >> larry: larry, let her finish. >> okay. >> the second thing is the times square bomber, i met with a senior nypd official just this
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week explaining to me he clearly had been trained. it was constructed properly. what happened was it at the last minute he swapped out two of the elements to this thing for lower grade materials and that's why it didn't detonate. and frankly if he had not swapped that out and constructed it correctly as he said, he would have killed people. the good news is these attacks are smaller. they have not been able to successfully execute these attacks and that does indicate we're having some success. they are no less persistent and still coming at us and coming at us at a greater pace. we need to continue to take this actually quite seriously. >> my point on the explosives is 80 grams will not bring the plane down. we know that because of what happened with pan am 103. the scientific study was done. there's a certain amount of explosive that was determined would bring the plane down and it's that level of explosive that is used in the explosive
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machines for checked baggage. it's not a matter of opinion but scientific fact. it might have damaged some of the people around him and i certainly would not want to sit next to him when it went off but that said, it was not sufficient size to bring down the plane to cause a catastrophic decompression. my point is the fact that he didn't understand that is some good news. the fact that it this guy in new york city swaps out materials without understanding that you don't do that if you know what you're doing. so i think we're still left with the reality that fortunately we have second and third tier guys out there who have first tier dreams. big dreams and big plans but thank god they haven't proven to be smart enough to do it and i hope they keep getting stupider. that's my desire. >> larry: we'll be back with more right after this. when i got my medicare card,
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is this part of a larger plot? were these bombs designed to go off?
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laden has a larger strategic vision taken out by people all over the world, even people that have never met people in al qaeda. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula doesn't have any links with al qaeda central operationally but are acting exactly as bin laden would like them to act, which is a form of great success, as far as he's concerned. >> larry: mohammed, from your vantage point, do you find any optimism at all? >> reporter: well, larry, i can tell you the conditions on the ground in yemen have gotten a lot worse, frankly. the country's facing so many problems. as i mentioned before, officials now are expressing a level of concern that they weren't just months ago. and that really is concerning for regional neighbors, for the international community as well. and it's one of the reasons you're seeing a stepped up presence as well as far as the u.s. and the uk when it comes to counterterror training. one of the interesting thins that happened when i was there, we had an interview with the head of the counterterror forces, he acknowledged for the first time to us that the u.s.
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and the uk had been involved with yemeni security forces in air strikes that were happening in yemen. that has been a very, very sensitive issue and up until the past month, the yemeni government was really denying that, the u.s. wasn't commenting. so the fact the yemenis aren't just asking for help but starting to acknowledge how much help they're getting and saying the u.s. is even assisting in air strikes, you know, that's significant and that shows the level of concern there and shows they're trying to ask for as much help as possible and they know they need it. larry? >> larry: fran townsend, to this point you were in that seat and around the center of all this. is obama handling this well at this early juncture? >> the only thing i found curious is that the president himself as you said earlier, larry, became the briefer in chief. that was a little unusual. but i will tell you, john brennan, his counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, is doing exactly what i would have been doing.
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i think they're coordinating it, they're talking to their international allies, they're marshalling all the resources of the federal government, they're leading this effort to identify these other packages. they've worked the private sector quite well, u.p.s., fedex, dhl, to stop the shipments until they get a handle on it. i actually think they've done a very good job. >> larry: larry, 30 seconds. do you share that view? >> yeah. i think they're doing what they need to do. but we still have to recognize we're relying upon the saudis in this case to tip us off. that's good news. but we shouldn't have a system like having your best friend or a friend give you a tip on what's going on. relying on intelligence is not a security system. it's a good system for going to the casinoho


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